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Media release Tuesday February 21, 2012

Victory for mental patients' education

"In the Administrative Decisions Tribunal yesterday morning, the Health Department's barrister Kristina Stern SC offered a settlement at the start of a projected four day hearing. The settlement will allow forensic patient Saeed Dezfouli to study law whilst he is in the Forensic Hospital and clinches the right to education for patients. This ends a four year battle" said Justice Action Coordinator Brett Collins.

Saeed made a statement  to his support team:

'Thanks and I love you all. Finally I have the opportunity to use my time and energy constructively. I feel transformed - like a student now, not a person of lower status than a prisoner'. 

"The settlement orders made by the Tribunal are that Saeed be assessed for suitability for his proposed distance learning course by an Education Officer within the next 21 days. He will pay fees as do other tertiary students, but won't have access to the internet. His computer donated by students of the University of NSW has been waiting for him for two years" said Mr Collins.

"According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights article 26 ‘Everyone has the right to education.’ This was significantly recognised yesterday in the Administrative Decisions Tribunal in the case won by forensic patient Saeed Dezfouli. After years of requesting access to education, Saeed was finally taken seriously and given the right to study for the law degree he always wanted." said Mr Collins.

For comments: Brett Collins 0438 705003

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